Sarah Cutler í03 had never heard of Rabindranath
Tagore when she enrolled in a class called Mahatma Gandhi and
Rabindranath Tagore: Nonviolence, the Nation, and the World last
spring, but his writing "resonated" with her right away. Taught
by Asian studies professor Indira Peterson, the course focused
on the impact of Gandhi and Tagoreís thoughts on activism all
over the world. Cutler was drawn to "Tagoreís poetry, mystical
spirit, philosophy that everyone is artistic, and feeling that
one shouldnít play by the book rules when it comes to education,"
she said. Cutler also took the courseís lessons about activism
to heart. "I told Professor Peterson that I didnít want to write
a paper about Tagore. I wanted to be like Tagore," she said.
Petersonís encouragement, Cutler removed herself from her computer
keyboard and switched to the pianoís, immersed herself in Tagoreís
writing, and created "The Living Logic of Creation: A Celebration
of Rabindranath Tagore, Poet, Mystic, and Visionary of Peace."
In the multiarts piece, Cutler performs her original music on
the viola and piano, reads her poetry inspired by Tagore, and
dances. She will perform an expanded version of the original creative
project on Saturday November 3, at 3 pm in Pratt Hallís McCulloch
original inspiration for the piece came from the following passage
from Sadhana, a book by Tagore: "The meaning of the living words
that come out of the experience of great hearts can never be exhausted
by any one system of logical interpretation. They have to be endlessly
explained by the commentaries of individual lives, and they gain
an added mystery in each new revelation." Tagore (1861Ė1941),
acclaimed as Indiaís preeminent poet, won the Nobel Prize for
poetry in 1913, the same year he wrote the words that so inspired
Cutler. In addition to collections of poems in the Bengali language,
he composed hundreds of lyrical songs and set them to music. These
songs are still sung in Bengal and all over India. Founder of
Visvabharati, Indiaís first international university, Tagore spent
much of his life working for peace and international understanding.
His world tours included a visit and poetry reading at Mount Holyoke
describes the creation of her project as an organic reaction of
music, movement, and poetry to Tagoreís work. "I would read his
poetry and then sit down at the piano, which I donít play, and
the music would pour forth. Then I would feel the need to move,
and the dance portion became a part of the project." Cutler originally
performed her piece for a small audience of faculty and students.
Peterson was "so excited by it" that she encouraged her student
to share the project with a wider audience.
her upcoming performance Cutler says, "Tagore was a mystic, poet,
artist, and deep believer in the connections between peoples.
I offer my response to his creative energies as a chance to spread
beauty, understanding, and peace in the world." Through her performance,
Cutler hopes to raise funds for the World Food Programme (WFP),
a United Nations organization that provides food aid to people
in areas affected by war, natural disaster, and other hardships.
"The group is really stepping up its program in Afghanistan, and
Iím hoping to earmark any funds I raise to this cause," Cutler
says. "I chose the WFP for a number of reasons. It is well established
and does good work, and it is a global unifying organization,
an orientation that reminded me of Tagoreís interest in the wisdom
that comes from exploring and experiencing other cultures." For
more information about the World Food Organization visit www.wfp.org.
unlike those of the man she so admires, Cutlerís talents span
many disciplines, and she is deeply spiritual. In addition to
playing the viola with the MHC orchestra, she sings with the Five
College group Voces Feminae; is a writing mentor for the Weissman
Centerís Speaking, Arguing, and Writing Program; and serves on
the Collegeís Mulitfaith Council and Protestant Council of Deacons.
Her spare time is devoted to writing poetry, creating art, and
dancing. The biological sciences major, who is pursuing an interdisciplinary
minor in conceptual foundations in science, aspires to be a high
school biology teacher.
Peterson, "Sarah is engaged in sadhana. In Sanskrit and Bengali,
the word connotes undertaking creative practice in the arts or
in a religious path, with the goal of realizing the selfís full
spiritual potential (self-realization). I think Tagore would have